For Armstrong Pame -who joined St. Stephen's College in 2005 with Physics (Hons)-the felicitation by his alma mater after all these years, was a proud moment.
The foremost initiative for this Young Turk after joining the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) in 2009 was to work for the betterment of Impa village, where he hailed from and spent most of his childhood.
"This village had no roads or electricity and it was my dream to provide a basic road so that in times of emergency at least a four-wheeler vehicle can pass through," said Pame.
After Pame joined the IAS, plans were under way for infrastructure development in the deep recesses of the North East.
As the sub division officer of the Tousem sub division (Manipur), Pame pulled out all stops to pool in resources for the construction of a 100-kilometre stretch of road in this district. While 60 kilometres required intensive repair work, Pame said that a 40-kilometre stretch had to be constructed afresh.
"I got in touch with the villagers and we did a lot of brainstorming, after which we decided that we would work to build roads in the area. So about 150 villagers agreed to provide firewood, manpower and other resources that they could. I requested some of my friends who provided bulldozers and other equipment for very nominal rates," he added.
Even though financing the project was a constraint, it did not prove to be a deterrent.
"I told the villagers that I would pay them a basic salary from what I had saved over the months. My mother pooled in money from my father's pension and my brother and his wife also joined in. But we got a major boost when we put up this initiative on Facebook. Now we have generated almost R16 lakh. In future, I will request the government to help us," he said.